Waterproof Dryer Lint Fire-Starter

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Introduction: Waterproof Dryer Lint Fire-Starter

 How to make your very own waterproof dryer lint fire-starter, for free.

Using only household items you can make a 1 oz waterproof fire-starter that burns for 15 minutes.  It's perfect for camping, backpacking, or even your backyard fire pit.  No need to buy fancy fire starter logs, here you'll need to gather a few household items that would have otherwise been thrown in trash.

Step 1: Step 1 - Gather Materials

 First, gather a few materials from around the house.

1. Dryer lint
2. An empty egg carton
3. Old Candle Stubs (or in my case, a box of canning wax - $3*)
4. Dental floss
5. Scissors
6. New Belgium beer (not required, but hey, that's how it happened)

*Available at your local hardware store

Step 2: Step 2 - Cut the Wax

 Whether using old candle stubs or bars of canning wax, cut them into small strips/chunks so they can be more easily melted.

Step 3: Step 3 - Fill Egg Carton With Dryer Lint

 Take your dryer lint and fill each compartment.  Stuff a fair amount into each as it will prolong burning time.

Step 4: Step 4 - Cut and Fold Compartment

 Using the scissors, cut each compartment and fold the ends of each on top of each other.

Step 5: Step 5 - Tie Each Compartment With Dental Floss

 Using dental floss (or any disposable string), tie each fire-starter allowing for a few inches of additional length.

Step 6: Step 6 - Melt Wax

Drop your wax pieces into a disposable glass jar (or empty aluminum can) and place it into a boiling pot of water.  Keep the water level low enough so the jar or can doesn't tip over.  Once the water boils, you should have fully melted wax in a few minutes.

Step 7: Step 7 - Lower Fire-Starters Into Jar or Can

 Turning off your burner, you can now lower the fire-starters into the jar or can of melted wax using the length of dental floss.  Make sure the fire-starters are fully submerged until bubbles stop rising to the surface.  Note - It may help to use an additional utensil to push them below the wax line.

Step 8: Step 8 - Let Fire-Starters Dry

Drizzle any remaining wax onto the fire-starters.  This will help ensure waterproofing.  Let the fire-starters fully dry.  I placed them on a paper towel to prevent a messy cleanup.  After about an hour or two, they should be rock solid.

Step 9: Step 9 - Light Your Fire-Starter

 Now that they have dried, your fire-starters are ready to go.  Just light a corner and bask in the glory.  My initial test had a burn time of 15 minutes.



I'm a long time lover of this site and it's my first post..  The goal here was to take items around the house that would have otherwise wound up in a landfill and turn them into something useful.  Hope you enjoy.

3 People Made This Project!

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137 Discussions

Instead of using paper towels for an easier clean-up, try parchment paper. Once the wax cools, you can easily put the excess wax back into the jar to heat next time.

The best lint to use would be from a dryer load of cotton bath towels.. No synthetics, just cotton which burns well.

Good job! we had a similar way of making firestarters in boy scouts.

That's a lot of work when a cotton ball with some petroleum jelly has always worked for me.

Dryer lint never worked for me because of the mixed materials.

1 reply

Most all clothes are treated with fire retardant so cotton balls are going to work better with less treatment.

Cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly work better and are much easier. I've tried both and dryer lint sometimes just doesn't burn well. Most clothes at least in the US are treated with fire retardant. Probably elsewhere as well since US clothes are seldom made in the US. I suspect this idea works because of the ingredients and treatment other than the lint.

Of all the "Home trash" fire starter tricks I've tried, this is by far the most effective and reliable in practice. I use egg cartons, lint, and wax... just place 4-6 'eggs' in strategic positions (where it won't just drip straight into the ground, but rather either puddle on some wood or drip from one piece onto another) in the firewood and get lighting. Yes, you still need some tinder, and plenty of kindling. You just won't have to babysit it nearly as much.

1) I sometimes use the little, paper ‘Dixie’ mouthwash cups
instead of egg cartons. If you do use
egg cartons, be sure and cut them apart into individual ‘cups’ BEFORE
pouring. Otherwise, you’ll have a hard
time cutting through the hardened wax!

2) Setting your ‘cups’ on a cookie sheet lined with either
parchment or wax paper makes clean-up much easier.

3) You can cheaply purchase used pots and pans at any thrift store.

4) My favorite setup for melting wax is a (dedicated) 2 cup,
glass measuring cup set in a pan of boiling water, elevated on canning jar
lids. After you are through with the
pouring, let the cup cool to room temperature, and then place it in your
freezer. The wax will chip off much
easier.

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been living in cornwall for about four years now and use these for long walks along the coast but never thought to use lint to dip them with so I say thank you to you sir and happy camping

I made a couple of these yesterday from some candles that had burned out and whatever was in the dryer. They worked beautifully and got our Christmas morning fire going in no time. Thanks!

I made a couple of these yesterday from some candles that had burned out and whatever was in the dryer. They worked beautifully and got our Christmas morning fire going in no time. Thanks!

I like the part about the beer. I have that in many of my recipes, but it doesn't get put into the pot, heh heh.

just a bit of advice... if you have pets, I have two Jacky's and I often wash their bedding... trust me when I say you do not NOT want dog hair in the lint you use to start your fire.. it stinks something awful!

nice c: I made some myself and experimented with Pine resin as well as wax and the resin balls burned for a lot longer and i think hotter though it was a bit harder to light(had to use my jet lighter). i still haven't managed to light one with sparks or even matches though which i want so it can go in my survival kit and function without the jet lighter. i haven't tried putting them in the centre of a ball of lint which might work.

1 reply

use the pine resin first, dip each starter a few times then finish off with a dip or two in wax, the wax will catch much easier and get the resin burning.

for the people having trouble finding paper egg cartons: I don't know if you have an Aldi grocery store in your area, but they have the paper egg cartons. I think Save a lot has the 30ct medium egg flats with the paper bottoms as well. :)

1 reply

Couldn't someone just use toilet paper tubes or cut up paper towel tubes? Might be more work to close them but that's what I'm going to try. :)